From the Grapevine

Something to Talk About

As an inner-city sixth-grader, Carlos was like most other guys — life was about girls and basketball. But he had struggles to deal with — a sick mom, barely passing grades and pressures from school. One Friday, some kids invited him to WyldLife. Hearing there would be plenty of cute girls there, he decided to go.

That night, Carlos found there was more to club than girls. He played games, talked about life and heard about what God had done for him. The next day, he went bowling with kids from club and spent hours talking about Jesus with their WyldLife leader. From that point on, he went to club every week.

The following school year, a car accident killed one of Carlos’ friends. Devastated and confused, he went to club hoping to find comfort. He heard a message that changed everything. Carlos remembered, “I felt God opening my eyes, showing me that He loved me and had a purpose for my life, that He sent His son to die for me because He had a plan for my future.” Suddenly, everything clicked. Carlos had a new perspective on life and a new relationship with Jesus.

This fall, Carlos will be in the 10th-grade and wants to be a WyldLife leader. Darryl Atwaters, a Young Life staff person, said, “Carlos is passionate about communicating God’s love and what a relationship with Christ is all about to everyone he can. He loves sharing the story.”

– Erika Jay

Caring for New Friends

Last summer, John, a sophomore involved in Campaigners, decided to invite his friend, Kenny, a freshman, to summer camp. With the exception of John, Kenny was in a cabin full of strangers. But as the week progressed, Kenny started to make friends with his bunkmates and his leader, Jason Schrader. “At camp, Kenny was the number one excited guy,” Schrader said. At the end of the week, Kenny made a commitment to follow Christ.

Upon their return to Ann Arbor, Mich., Kenny began joining Schrader at church weekly, and when club began again in the fall no one was more excited about it than Kenny. He was constantly inviting his friends to club and other Young Life events. But they kept turning him down.

Eventually, he exhausted his own list of friends, but he didn’t give up. Kenny began to sit with a group of freshman guys at lunch. The group was excited to have an older, “cool,” upper classman sitting with them. Sometimes Kenny even brought his Bible to the lunchroom. “Every time I go to the school lunchroom now, Kenny is there reaching out to those guys,” Schrader said. “He’ll always pull me over and introduce me to them.”

Kenny has been an instrumental kid for Young Life in his high school. “Kenny has an incredible ability to make people feel comfortable,” Schrader said. “He is able to bring his thoughts, ideas and faith into casual conversation in an inviting way.”

– David Harrity

Thinking Through Faith

The summer before her senior year, Christine ventured to SharpTop Cove not prepared for how the experience would begin to change her. Raised as a Buddhist, Christine had a very different outlook on life than many of her friends. Hearing the message of Christ really made Christine think.

She returned home with a head full of questions and really began struggling to understand how Buddhism is different than Christianity. For answers, she turned to apologist C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. As Christine and her leader, Shannon Pitzer, began reading along together, Christine started to make sense of Christianity on an intellectual level.

“It took us a long time to finish reading Mere Christianity, but it helped Christine understand why she should follow Christ,” Pitzer said.

After the pair finished reading the book, Christine read the stories of Christ in the New Testament. Soon she began to understand the character of Christ. She would read, make notes and come to Campaigners ready to discuss the Bible with Pitzer and the other Young Life leaders.

One Sunday, while visiting church with her leaders, Christine was singing with the rest of the congregation. Unexpectedly she began to cry. “It was clear that Christine felt broken and wanted to accept Christ,” Pitzer said. Christine decided to talk with another one of her Young Life leaders, Alicia, a friend who had a similar spiritual transformation experience. The two prayed together, and Christine began a new life with Christ.

– David Harrity

New Friends Make a Big Impact

This summer, there were two Capernaum camps that are specifically for teens and young adults with disabilities, one at Crooked Creek Ranch and one at North Bay, a non-Young Life camp outside of Baltimore. The camps are also discipleship opportunities for other kids in Young Life to come and help Capernaum teens and young adults during their week at camp. As a Capernaum “buddy,” able-bodied high school kids help Capernaum campers throughout the week and accompany them during all the activities.

David Kim was one of the buddies serving at North Bay. Serving and making new friends with the Capernaum campers changed David’s life. Here’s what he said about his experience:

I befriended a girl named Audrey. She was a girl who uses a wheelchair. Her speech was hard to understand, but she was really sweet. I helped her eat, watched her do the ropes course and was just kind of there every time I could be. Most of the times I understood what she said, but more than that, the smile she always gave me was enough of a reward.

At this camp, I saw no masks, no lies and no fake smiles. All I saw was the true person that each of those campers is. I respect them so much. If they did not like something they would say so, and if they were happy, they would let you know right away.

For information on serving as a Capernaum buddy next summer, contact Amira Corby in the Capernaum Missionwide office at (408) 286-3361.

– Aimée Kessick